The Frontline piece titled Revolution in Cairo covers the April 6th Movement’s Arab Spring efforts against Mubarak’s regime. April 6th Movement makes use of social media, particularly video, to expose atrocities and disseminate their message. Facebook and YouTube are the primary delivery methods and with 60% of the population under 30, these social media’s efforts take a deep grip on the people, catching the regime by surprise.
When a leader of this movement named, Ahmed Maher (no relation to Bill) was captured, tortured and finally released after giving a fake password to his Facebook page, pictures of his injuries are posted on Facebook. Facebook does not even have passwords, per se; the regime’s lack of understanding of social media came back to bite them because the publication of Maher’s injuries only served to further galvanize the movement.
The Arab Spring movement has already proven to be capable of gripping like-minded youth throughout the Middle East. April 6th Movement took lessons from the largely peaceful Serbian uprising against Slobodan Milosevic’s regime in particular. Iranian youth would be well served to closely examine the tactics of the Arab Spring in Egypt as well as Libya, Serbia, Tunisia and others. The Iranian regime is different for sure, but many of these social media tactics can still work for Iranian’s to get their message out and to coordinate their movement. The Iranian’s need their own April 6th moment, their own Tahrir Square moment or their own Tiananmen Square moment to serve as a symbol of the their own movement for freedom. Iranian’s need their own Ahmed Maher to rally the people. The Ayatollah’s grip is tightening in Iran as the regime learns effective tactics to combat social media through internet censorship. Organization of the movement around social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook can be a critical facet of a similar pro-freedom movement in Iran, but the window for Iranians is closing.